Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Is this the fall of Blackberry?

The end of a Smartphone giant! A shock to some, and a predictable outcome for others, it was obvious that the path blackberry has chosen will either take their ship of glory struggling in the sea of smartphones and the storm of iOS and Android to the shore or it will finally sink. And right during this storm, the co-CEOs of RIM decided to step down and leave the company in a limbo.
Blackberry needed that magic again that could take them away from their economic breakdown; we waited and waited for that time, but it never came. And now it seems that Blackberry has finally given up on the smartphone race and admitted its defeat.
But what truly brought about this eventual decay that forced BlackBerry to forfeit and sell off to Fairfax Financial Holding for $4.7 billion?
My personal opinion says that Blackberry is itself responsible for it; various small aspects and fatal miscalculations like poor pricing proved to be one of the many factors that eventually lead to their downfall. Let's have a look!

Operating System: Strike one!

Blackberry had to take care of three things and most important of them was their OS, the central nervous system of a smartphone. Blackberry always underestimated the power of Android and iOS, they were satisfied with their OS and never showed any interest in upgrading it, until the market exploded with iOS and Android which finally made them realized the biggest mistake they’ve ever made. Even Nokia’s with its ever-faithful Symbian OS started running out of options and finally adopted windows as their life-saver. Blackberry also panicked and introduced the BB 10 to the masses in the year 2011. Unfortunately, they were a little too late for the party as Android and iOS had the cake, and ate it too.

Hardware: Strike two!

Blackberry never had much power under the hood to keep up with the competition like Apple and Samsung, while they were fighting with each other to stay first in the race by adding more power in their devices Blackberry was thinking slow and steady wins the race; but this was not the case with Apple and Samsung and they were launching device after another to show how much of 'technology' they could give on your palm. BlackBerry finally launched a noteworthy smartphone in the form of BlackBerry Z10. It placed BlackBerry right in the competition; it was smart in all the right sense and complimented the all new operating system; it also gave BlackBerry a new direction, when they finally gave up their typical QWERTY keypad design for a full-touch interface. We thought BlackBerry had finally arrived. We were horribly wrong, again.

Pricing: Strike three...and you are out!

Desperate times require desperate measures, but Blackberry never took it seriously. BlackBerry was always known to flaunt a hefty price tag for their handsets. For the outdated hardware and software that came bundled, the prices were outrageous; BlackBerry stuck to their pricing, and did the same for their “would’ve been lifesaver”, the BlackBerry Z10. A phone that had all the potential to take things forward for BlackBerry, the Z10 was priced absurdly high at of Rs.42,000/-!! Taking the hardware and price into consideration, a customer could easily get the all-powerful Samsung Galaxy S4 or the iPhone in the same price that was equipped with more firepower and housed Android or iOS as an OS.
The share of BlackBerry Limited in the Indian smartphone market dropped to 2% during the April-June period of 2013 down from 7% a year ago, according to IDC. Even the launch of new models by BlackBerry Limited with a new OS could not prevent the decline in its market share and rather than rectifying their mistakes, BlackBerry launched two more smartphones, the Q5 and the Q10. Both handsets based on its signature QWERTY layout, the phones were meant to be BlackBerry's second grace, and yet again, the poor pricing led it another wave of failure sweeping them off.

The final nail in the coffin: BBM!

Once people used to buy Blackberry just to use BBM, it was once ACE Card for the Blackberry. It was a rage internationally with teenagers purchasing BlackBerry for the sole reason of using the instant messaging service. BBM finally found its worthy opponents in the form of instant messaging apps like WhatsApp, WeChat etc. that are hosted for free on numerous operating systems but BBM is still not free in Blackberry devices.  As far as Android and iOS are concerned they should have launched BBM few years ago and cemented their feet in the market, and yet they failed at doing so.
There were many other reasons for their failure as well like the mediocre Apps market as compare to Android and iOS, arguably the worst camera among smartphones and not so good customer services made sure that their glory was short-lived.

There could have been various saving graces for BlackBerry; the right upgrade at the right time, lower pricing, introduction of BBM for Android and iPhone among various other things. BlackBerry failed, and so did its legacy for being one of the top contenders in the smartphone market.